How well do you know Cherry Parsons?
We decided that due to the rise in popularity of Cherry Parsons Art, we should give those who haven’t met Cherry personally before, some insight into who she is and what makes her tick. So, I bribed her with a nice cup of tea, to sit with me for five minutes and take part in a little interview.
1. Firstly, for those who don’t already know, who are you and what do you do?
My name is Cherry Parsons. I have multiple roles: wife, mum, nana, sibling, friend and artist.
2. What is your background?
I was born in Horsham, Sussex to working-class parents, and I had two older siblings.
My father improved our lifestyle through sheer hard work and great entrepreneurial skills. By the time I had reached my teens we were living far more comfortably than in my early childhood.
I went to a mixture of private and state schools (I was transferred when my private school went co-ed) and then stayed on to achieve A levels in Art, English, and Needlework.
My desire to go to art college was sadly thwarted due to my father’s mistrust of art college reputations during the swinging sixties and seventies. Because of this, I decided to go into fashion instead. I started with a course at Lucy Claytons’ in London and then worked for a high-end fashion shop in Reigate, learning window dressing and selling skills.
I eventually opened my own successful boutique shop within the town which did very well until I sold the business on – after the birth of my first child, Beth.
Motherhood took over for several years, but like many others of my generation, I had several part-time jobs until I had to look after my ailing parents.
When my children became more independent I took the opportunity to attend art college. I studied for 3 years at Northbrook College and followed that with many courses, led by truly inspiring tutors. This is a practice that I still try to continue when the opportunity presents itself, and I will hopefully resume learning after lockdown is over.
3. Who are your biggest influences?
Subliminally I think I am influenced by many artists.
“Whose work do I love?” is a very different thing. Rodin, George Frederick Watts, Paul Klee, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Degas, Mucha to name just a few.
One contemporary artist that blows me away is Nick Romerill, a Jerseyboy, who we ‘tripped over‘ by accident on a holiday art trail. I love his realism and enthusiasm.
I could quite happily set up residence in the Musee D’Orsay, or live in the era of La Belle Epoque. That would be my idea of Heaven!
4. How do you work?
I tend to work in ‘fits and starts’ when the mood takes me. I’m not terribly disciplined as I need to find my mojo. When I get going I get totally absorbed and forget time.
I work mainly in acrylics, but I like experimenting in oils and mixed media. I particularly like working big!!!
My style varies with mood and subject but I love playing with colour and capturing the essence of light.
I would love to do more with clay sculpture, but my appalling understanding of chemistry and maths would render anything I did to burnt ashes, (much like my cooking)!
5. How do you price your work?
We try to accommodate all budgets. Not everyone can afford a large original, nor do they necessarily have space to house one. Personally, I don’t see why that should exclude people from enjoying my art. To this end, we try to make our catalogue of work accessible to everyone. We don’t just sell big, originals on canvases, we also sell prints, greeting cards and even umbrellas!
6. How has your practice changed over time?
In recent years I have had more time to dedicate to my own interests. You could call it retirement, but in reality, my “hobby” has become more of a way of life and is far from retirement. It has now become a more commercial venture too. It now involves my husband, my daughter, and working with other creative people and venues.
7. What work do you most enjoy doing?
That is definitely mood-driven. My seagulls make me giggle. There is a “Eureka!” moment when portrait painting and the subject’s character suddenly pops up. That is exciting!
I find painting landscapes very relaxing. You can use imagination and artistic licence in a lot of landscape painting. Moving a tree or taking out an ugly building is permissible unless you are painting a well-known view. Even then, changes can be made to enhance the experience.
8. What’s your scariest experience?
Definitely doing presentations! I find that very daunting.
9. What jobs have you done, other than being an artist?
Over the years I have been a fashion business owner, window dresser, quality controller in a fashion workshop and a fashion buyer. I have also had many shop assistant roles in pharmacies, shoe shops, jewellers, trendy objet d’art, even a tobacconist/ sweetshop as a teenager.
10. What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Whenever someone says they love your work it gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling. It makes the blood, sweat and tears all worthwhile. I think every artist has huge self-doubt about their talents, so even the smallest of compliments mean a great deal. Having said that, my first international sale to a perfect stranger was an exciting moment.
11. Favourite and most inspirational place?
Majorca, I love the life style – I even wrote a blog all about it. Italy, I love the history and romance – Venice! WOW!! . France, I love the variety of landscape and camping.
Two buildings that have emotionally amazed me and moved me to tears are Watts Cemetery Chapel at Compton, Surrey, and the interior of the Sagrada Familia (Barcelona), during the late afternoon sunshine. Both are extraordinary visions of love and labour.